What to do during your first days on campus.

First-Year students reporting at the University of Nairobi. Image Credits: Salaton Njau as published on the Business Daily at https://bit.ly/3o36rVC

The first days on campus play a crucial role in one’s life. Essentially, it is the time when one is launched into a life of freedom. Remember how in high school, one used to get policed everywhere they went? Forget about that. On campus, there is no one to be policing you to check if you have attended a class or not. That’s one enjoyable bit of freedom that you’ll be having on campus. It is also a moment of self-discovery. You are now released to face the world on your own. You are entering a new phase of life where you learn how to handle life on your own. It’s also a time where most of you get your Identity Cards, signifying your transition into becoming citizens. With that comes the fact that you can be arrested and jailed just like any other adult. Those are just some of the few facts that you should keep in mind as you join campus.

Now, to the agenda of the day.

So, today we are going to look at some of the things that you need to do during your first days on campus to get you started on the right footing.

  1. Do the Basics.

First things first, ensure you have done the basics. In essence, ensure that you have registered for all the units you will do in that semester. Get to know the university policy regarding fee payment and registration of units. I hear that there are campuses that allow you to pay 50% fees for you to register your units. So, in that case, ensure that if you cannot pay the full fees that you have already paid the minimum required to have all your units registered. Also, get to know your timetable. After knowing your timetable, know where the classes are located. A funny bit here, I remember during our first days on campus, a friend of mine who was doing Bachelor of Business Information Technology (BBIT) found himself in a second-year Information Technology (IT) class attending a calculus unit because he had not copied the timetable correctly. So, be careful to ensure that you know the actual units that you will be doing in your first semester. Also, you’ll need to know where your faculty offices are located. Get to know the chairperson of your faculty too. You can also look around for a place of worship. Also, get to know where the mase/dining hall is located, the guidance and counseling office, and most importantly, the student affairs office that houses the student leadership office.

Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) students registering for units. Image Credits: JKUAT website at https://bit.ly/3ELg414

2. Socialize.

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Secondly, socialize, socialize, socialize. I insist you need to socialize. I know many of you are deep introverts. Also, you may have been advised to keep to yourselves because the older students are always seeking to exploit your naivety. I would say that it is preferable to socialize with other freshers and establish valuable connections from the word go. As the days go by, you can then get to know other students in the classes ahead. You are likely to meet them as your hostel mates or neighbors if you live outside campus. But for a start, it is easier to know your coursemates and hostel neighbors who are fresh on campus just like you. It is easier to have conversations with them because you are in the same situation.

The University of Nairobi (UoN) students enjoying themselves after a socialization session. Image Credits: UoN website at https://bit.ly/3EIezRz

3. Take note of the noticeboards.

Thirdly, become aware of where the noticeboards are situated. The noticeboard will act as a crucial point in notifying you of opportunities regarding campus events. It would often contain information on timetables, general campus administration notices, information from the clubs and societies, and any other vital information concerning the campus affairs. For example, I remember during my time on campus during the first week that a circular requiring us to vacate campus due to student unrest had been posted on the noticeboard, and I was unaware of it. I was only convinced of it being authentic when I saw anti-riot police walking around the residential halls chasing us to vacate the institution ASAP. So there you go, you ought to be aware of prompt notices that are often posted on the noticeboards all over campus.

Typical Campus Noticeboard. Image Credits: Student VIP at https://bit.ly/3AECGOj

4. Explore the Nearby Town or Shopping Center

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Fourthly, it would be best if you took the time to explore the town or shopping center that exists around your campus. As in you have to know all those vichochoro where you can get your necessities at a bargain. I may mention a few shopping centers here that I know of. UoN main campus have kulabu and KU has Kenyatta Market/KM. It is a known fact that you can get food and household items at pocket-friendly prices in these centers. Let me give you a tip: when going to these shopping centers, always dress down like a hustler and always walk in groups to increase your negotiation power. Then, you’ll be able to shop for a lot using little money.

A previewed image of Kenyatta Market (KM) that is behind Kenyatta University (K.U.). Image Credits: Tuko at https://bit.ly/2XMz4fh

5. Attend the Orientation Meeting

Finally, remember not to miss the first meeting with the student body and university administration. During the session, you get introduced to your student leaders and the university’s leadership team. You are also given an orientation into the university’s system. You also get to learn the responsible individuals for various student affairs. Essentially, you understand the role of each of the student leaders and how you can approach them in case of any concerns.

Mount Kenya University (MKU) Vice-Chancellor addressing KUCCPS students in a past orientation session. Image Credits MKU Website at https://bit.ly/3zFzWiq

Comrades, these are just some of the things you ought to do to get you started. As you begin going to class and socializing with the rest of the comrades, many things will start falling into place; be patient. Remember to always be confident and courageous in all your pursuits. Finally, and most importantly, enjoy your campus time but also remember to study. It is easy to get caught up in the fun times to the point of disregarding classwork. To be successful, have a rewarding routine that is balanced between socialization and academics. Keep this in mind: campus time is a time to learn how to live by yourself and establish vital connections that launch you into your career and your future.

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Until the next post, remember to remain focused on your ambitions, won’t you?

*previewed image credits: KNA

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